The Poisonwood Bible

The Poisonwood Bible

by Barbara Kingsolver


$13.59 $16.99 Save 20% Current price is $13.59, Original price is $16.99. You Save 20%. View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Wednesday, September 25


The Poisonwood Bible is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They carry with them everything they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it—from garden seeds to Scripture—is calamitously transformed on African soil. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family's tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa. The novel is set against one of the most dramatic political chronicles of the twentieth century: the Congo's fight for independence from Belgium, the order of its first elected prime minister, the CIA coup to install his replacement, and the insidious progress of a world economic order that robs the fledgling African nation of its autonomy. Taking its place alongside the classic works of postcolonial literature, this ambitious novel establishes Kingsolver as one of the most thoughtful and daring of modern writers.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060786502
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 07/05/2005
Series: Oprah's Book Club Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 576
Sales rank: 8,777
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.10(d)
Lexile: 960L (what's this?)

About the Author

Barbara Kingsolver is the author of nine bestselling works of fiction, including the novels, Flight Behavior, The Lacuna, The Poisonwood Bible, Animal Dreams, and The Bean Trees, as well as books of poetry, essays, and creative nonfiction. Her work of narrative nonfiction is the enormously influential bestseller Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life. Kingsolver’s work has been translated into more than twenty languages and has earned literary awards and a devoted readership at home and abroad. She was awarded the National Humanities Medal, our country’s highest honor for service through the arts, as well as the prestigious Dayton Literary Peace Prize for her body of work. She lives with her family on a farm in southern Appalachia.

Date of Birth:

April 8, 1955

Place of Birth:

Annapolis, Maryland


B.A., DePauw University, 1977; M.S., University of Arizona, 1981

Read an Excerpt

Book One


And God said unto them,
Be fruiful, and multiply, and replenish the earth,
and subdue it: and have dominion
over the fish of the sea, and over the foul of the air,
and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

Genesis 1:28

Orleanna Price

Sanderling Island, Georgia

Imagine a ruin so strange it must never have happened.

First, picture the forest. I want you to be its conscience, the eyes in the trees. The trees are columns of slick, brindled bark like muscular animals overgrown beyond all reason. Every space is filled with life: delicate, poisonous frogs war-painted like skeletons, clutched in copulation, secreting their precious eggs onto dripping leaves. Vines strangling their own kin in the everlasting wrestle for sunlight. The breathing of monkeys. A glide of snake belly on branch. A single-file army of ants biting a mammoth tree into uniform grains and hauling it down to the dark for their ravenous queen. And, in reply, a choir of seedlings arching their necks out of rotted tree stumps, sucking life out of death. This forest eats itself and lives forever.

Away down below now, single file on the path, comes a woman with four girls in tow all of them in shirtwaist dresses. Seen from above this way they are pale, doomed blossoms, bound to appeal to your sympathies. Be careful. Later on you'll have to decide what sympathy they deserve. The mother especially--watch how she leads them on, pale-eyed, deliberate. Her dark hair is tied in a ragged lace handkerchief, and her curved jawbone is lit with large, false-pearl earrings, as if these headlamps from another world might show the way. The daughters march behind her, four girls compressed in bodies as tight as bowstrings, each one tensed to fire off a woman's heart on a different path to glory or damnation. Even now they resist affinity like cats in a bag: two blondes--the one short and fierce, the other tall and imperious--flanked by matched brunettes like bookends, the forward twin leading hungrily while the rear one sweeps the ground in a rhythmic limp. But gamely enough they climb together over logs of rank decay that have fallen across the path. The mother waves a graceful hand in front of her as she leads the way, parting curtain after curtain of spiders-webs. She appears to be conducting a symphony. Behind them the curtain closes. The spiders return to their killing ways.

At the stream bank she sets out their drear picnic, which is only dense, crumbling bread daubed with crushed peanuts and slices of bitter plantain. After months of modest hunger the children now forget to complain about food. Silently they swallow, shake off the crumbs, and drift downstream for a swim in faster water. The mother is left alone in the cove of enormous trees at the edge of a pool. This place is as familiar to her now as a living room in the house of a life she never bargained for. She rests uneasily in the silence, watching ants boil darkly over the crumbs of what seemed, to begin with, an impossibly meager lunch. Always there is someone hungrier than her own children. She tucks her dress under her legs and inspects her poor, featherless feet in their grass nest at the water’s edge--twin birds helpless to fly out of there, away from the disaster she knows is coming. She could lose everything: herself, or worse, her children. Worst of all: you, her only secret. Her favorite. How could a mother live with herself to blame?

She is inhumanly alone. And then, all at once, she isn't. A beautiful animal stands on the other side of the water. They look up from their lives, woman and animal, amazed to find themselves in the same place. He freezes, inspecting her with his black-tipped ears. His back is purplish-brown in the dim light, sloping downward from the gentle hump of his shoulders. The forest’s shadows fall into lines across his white-striped flanks. His stiff forelegs splay out to the sides like stilts, for he's been caught in the act of reaching down for water. Without taking his eyes from her, he twitches a little at the knee, then the shoulder, where a fly devils him. Finally he surrenders his surprise, looks away and drinks. She can feel the touch of his long, curled tongue on the water's skin, as if he were lapping from her hand. His head bobs gently, nodding small, velvet horns lit white from behind like new leaves.

It lasted just a moment, whatever that is. One held breath? An ant’s afternoon? It was brief, I can promise that much, for although it’s been many years now since my children ruled my life, a mother recalls the measure of the silences. I never had more than five minutes’ peace unbroken. I was that woman on the stream bank, of course. Orleanna Price, Southern Baptist by marriage, mother of children living and dead. That one time and no other the okapi came to the stream, and I was the only one to see it.

I didn't know any name for what I’d seen until some years afterward in Atlanta, when I attempted briefly to consecrate myself in the public library, believing every crack in my soul could be chinked with a book. I read that the male okapi is smaller than the female, and more shy, and that hardly anything else is known about them. For hundreds of years people in the Congo Valley spoke of this beautiful, strange beast. When European explorers got wind of it, they declared it legendary: a unicorn. Another fabulous tale from the dark domain of poison-tipped arrows and bone-pierced lips. Then, in the 1920s, when elsewhere in the world the menfolk took a break between wars to perfect the airplane and the automobile, a white man finally did set eyes on the okapi. I can picture him spying on...

Table of Contents

TOC not available

What People are Saying About This

Jane Smiley

There are few ambitious, successful and beautiful novels. Lucky for us, we have one now, in Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible....This awed reviewer hardly knows where to begin.


On Monday, October 26th, welcomed Barbara Kingsolver to discuss THE POISONWOOD BIBLE.

Moderator: Welcome, Barbara Kingsolver. Many of us at have fallen in love with THE POISONWOOD BIBLE, and based on the amount of questions we've received already tonight, this book has touched many readers across the internet. Are you ready to dig in?

Barbara Kingsolver: Yes, I am.

Hattie Norman from Chattanooga, Tennessee: Please explain the title of the book, POISONWOOD BIBLE.

Barbara Kingsolver: Like all of my titles, when you have read the book, you'll understand the title. I use titles as a sort of key for unlocking the themes of the book through every chapter, from beginning to end. This one is no exception.

Gary from Boston: Wow! I can't believe you're online. Why did you decide to set this novel in Africa? It's such a change of scenery from your other novels.

Barbara Kingsolver: I've been thinking about this novel for more than 20 years, actively researching and writing it for ten. It was no casual decision. It would take too long to explain fully why I chose the place, the time, the political drama, and the characters for this novel. Just trust me, I had a very good reason.

Bliss from Denver: I'm curious to find out how you wrote this novel. Did you write it in chronological order, from the perspective of the five females, or did you write each individual story separately and combine them. Thanks.

Barbara Kingsolver: Neither. I don't work in a very linear way. I conceive of a question first, which establishes my theme. In this case, I wanted to construct a political allegory in which the story of a missionary family would shed light on the much larger story of postcolonial Africa. I wanted to tell it in the voices of the missionary's wife and daughters. I began with an outline of the plot, then I spent years refining the individual voices, and writing and rewriting sections of the narrative, not necessarily in order.

Soraya from New Haven, Connecticut: In THE POISONWOOD BIBLE you demonstrate a facility with the Bible. Some of the lines you pick for "The Verse" are deliciously appropriate. Have you studied the Bible? How do you know so much about it?

Barbara Kingsolver: I was not very familiar with the Bible before I began to work on this book. My brother and I undertook to read the whole thing when I was about nine years old because we thought it would make us better people or something. But we got bogged down about a quarter of the way through Genesis. Since then, I hadn't really ever read the Bible, but when I began working on this novel in earnest, I knew I would need an intense familiarity with at least the Old Testament and much of the New. So I picked up that project where I left it 30 years ago and I studied the heck out of the King James Bible. It was one of many reference books I found invaluable in the writing of this novel.

Betsey Williams from Anacortes, Washington: Barbara, I'm interested to know how your formal education influenced your choice of writing and your choice of subjects about which to write. DePauw is a beautiful and great school; how does a degree in biology influence your writing?

Barbara Kingsolver: I wouldn't say that my formal education has ever influenced my outlook on life or my writing. I would say it's the other way around. Because of my interest in the natural world, I studied a lot of biology. Also a lot of history, cultural anthropology, and so forth. These interests and all the things I've learned about them naturally inform everything I choose to write.

Kristina Plath from Delhi, New York: Hi, Barbara. I loved THE POISONWOOD BIBLE. I loved Adah's voice, and I wondered how you were able to make it sound so convincing for her, and also for Doc Homer; they both have a different way of thinking, and what you write is so believable. How did you get that? Thanks.

Barbara Kingsolver: It's surprising to me and a little scary that on the occasions when I've decided to write from the point of view of someone who's brain is seriously impaired, I've found that it comes very naturally. Makes me wonder about myself. In the case of Adah, whose brain was seriously damaged on one side at birth, I did a lot of study about the brain, how it's organized, and what sorts of linguistic and behavioral changes tend to manifest after different kinds of injuries. It helps that my husband has a Ph.D. in behavioral psychology and is an expert on the brain. He could point me to the right reference books and help me understand. But after a point the science ends and the poetry takes over. I can't represent what every person with that sort of brain damage experiences. I can only create the experience of one imaginary character whose experience I hope will be both unique and in some way representative as well.

Elda from Michigan: I recently read an article in The New Yorker that described the atrocities that are going on in the Congo right now. The article was basically a plea for the United Nations and the United States to get involved. What do you know about this issue and why do you think it's been relatively ignored?

Barbara Kingsolver: I know very little more about it than what I've read in the same sources you have, since I have very few contacts left in the Congo. All have left or are no longer living. So, I can't speak about what's going on there at this moment. What I do know is that the atrocities, the corruption, and the sort of economic genocide that took place in the Congo for more than 30 years under Mobutu are just about unparalleled on the planet. I think it's a disgrace that we, meaning the United States government, put Mobutu into power and held him there for more than three decades. I believe that the best thing we could do now for the Congo is stop interfering. I believe the people of the Congo deserve a chance for the first time in centuries, to decide the fate of their own country without outside interference. It may take them several generations to sort this out and recover from the damage we did there. Nevertheless, I hope the U.S. stays out.

Pat from Pennsylvania: Do you think an author's political conscience makes her write better fiction than a writer who may only be interested in telling stories? Some of my favorite authors -- I'm thinking of Margaret Drabble in particular, but the same could even be said for Susan Isaacs -- began with lighter books, love stories, humorous stories, always distinguished by powerful writing -- but in later years they've moved into a more self-conscious political kind of book, highly moralistic. I wonder if you're making that same move, and what if anything you have to say on this subject.

Barbara Kingsolver: I believe what makes good writing is passion. If you are passionate about issues of social responsibility, then those issues will necessarily rise through whatever you write. You wouldn't be true to yourself or very successful as a writer, I don't think, if you avoided writing about the things for which you care most deeply. If you care most deeply about Gothic romance, then, for heaven's sake, that's what you should write. But if you are moved by injustices you see around you in the world, matters of gender, or race, or class, for example, your passion on those subjects will illuminate your stories even if they are simply love stories. In the case of the writers you mentioned, I agree that a kind of moral vision rose to the surface over the years. In the case of my own writing, my very first novel, THE BEAN TREES, was essentially driven by my interests in various issues of social justice. That novel addresses child abuse, the difficulty of growing up as a girl in poverty, immigration law, and the sanctuary movement and US foreign policy in Central America, just for starters. I cared about all those things and couldn't have left them out of that story. I don't think I could have been anything other than a political writer right from the beginning.

Hattie Norman from Chattanooga, Tennessee: Your description of Orleanna's grief over Ruth May's death moved me deeply. I cried. From what personal experience did you draw? I would also like to know what you are writing next?

Barbara Kingsolver: I'll answer the second one first. I would like to know what I'm writing next! I finished THE POISONWOOD BIBLE in July, the first reviews came out in August, and since then the demands of publicity and my readers have not allowed me one single day at my writing desk. I look forward to becoming a writer again when all this settles down. As for the other part of your question, as a writer I draw on every experience I've had myself or that I've witnessed to conjure the emotional states of my characters. That doesn't mean I have been through everything my characters do or feel. It only means that I pay close attention to emotional states and am very empathetic. I believe it's a little like being an actor. Sometimes to portray a great loss, you remember losses of your own and then magnify them. It's not very easy to explain. Maybe that's the best I can do. from XX: Ms. Kingsolver, first I just want to tell you how much I enjoy your writing. Secondly, I want to get your opinion as to why so many top fiction author's latest books are historical fiction? With Russell Banks' CLOUDSPLITTER, T. C. Boyle's RIVEN ROCK, and heck even Elmore Leonard's latest novel CUBA LIBRA was historical fiction. What drove you to write historical fiction?

Barbara Kingsolver: I would say that the four or five historical novels I can think of that appeared among the 700 books published this season don't necessarily constitute a trend. I also would never claim to know why any other author wrote the book she or he did. My own reasons for writing THE POISONWOOD BIBLE are a complex culmination of an entire lifetime of experience, interests, and concerns about things like cultural imperialism, cultural difference, and political mistakes. Nevertheless I've noticed that since we are nearly at the end of the millenium, just about everything anyone does is being analyzed as an "end of the millenium" endeavor.

Janine from Oakley, California: Did you do special research to come up with the old commercial slogans and jingles you mention in the book? You also use some expressions I haven't heard in awhile like "believe you me." Just memory, or more? (By the way -- thank you for everything you have ever written. I am now bowing in front of my computer and saying, "I'm not worthy. I'm not worthy." Thank You!) And congratulations on another daughter!

Barbara Kingsolver: First of all, you are plenty worthy. Every reader is a valuable and worthy critic. It's astute of you to notice that the teenage dialogue in THE POISONWOOD BIBLE was a special challenge. Teenage language is notoriously specific to its time and quickly out-of-date. At the time these girls were asking "Aren't you glad you used Dial. Don't you wish everybody did?" and saying things like "man oh man..." I was only three years old. So, memory would hardly serve. I had to do tons of research for this novel, but researching teenage jargon was some of the most fun research I did. I prowled used bookstores and scored every magazine from the late 50s I could possibly find. The advertisements were invaluable. By the time I finished writing the novel, I was hearing this stuff in my sleep.

Denise from Netscape: Hello. I can't wait to read your latest book. I'm so excited. However, my question is about publishing. I have just completed my first manuscript and want to know whether or not you think it's appropriate to send a query to many agents at one time. I have heard several different answers. I have a list of 20 that are interested in my genre. Thank you for answering my question.

Barbara Kingsolver: I believe the polite thing to do is query one at a time. If you don't hear from someone reasonably promptly, I think it's OK to write again and if you still don't hear, move on. I know you're excited to get your novel out there, but the whole process takes lots of patience. Unless your book is extremely topical, it won't hurt to take your time from the beginning and start off on the right foot with the agent who will ultimately become one of the most important relationships in your life.

Janine from San Francisco, East Bay: Are you taking a break after this book tour and promo stuff? I mean with two children you'd be busy no matter what, but are you working on another book? Any gigs planned with the Rockbottom Remainders? Do you have a new signature song, or still "Dock of the Bay"?

Barbara Kingsolver: When my tour is finished on November 7th, I've promised to devote myself full-time to the kids, at least through Christmas. They've been patient with my travel and deserve some solid Mommy time. I look forward after that to starting a new book. No, I'm no longer playing with the Rockbottom Remainders. We have officially disbanded. It was fun while it lasted and probably lasted longer than our talents warranted. However, I am still musically involved. My husband is a guitarist who has just released a new CD called "Fingers Crossed" ( is his web site). He's touring with me and playing in bookstores, and I'm actually going to play with him on a few gigs. So that's a lot of fun. I'm also raising two musicians. My eldest plays violin in an orchestra and my two-year-old can make a percussion instrument out of anything.

Marco Aurlio from Brazil: Hi, dear Barbara, how are you? It's a pleasure for me to be able to ask you a question. Unfortunately here in Brazil we don't have your books in Portuguese, but I hope they'll bring them soon. I'd like to know: What authors have influenced you in your writing? Thank you.

Barbara Kingsolver: Hi, dear Marco. It's nice to hear from Brazil. You're right. My books have not yet been translated into Portuguese, though that's coming soon, I believe. I have been influenced by a long list of writers. I think some of the most important ones were the women writers I discovered in my late teens. Doris Lessing, Margaret Atwood, Marge Piercy, and Marilyn French, just to name a few. I had previously been taught in school that the great themes in literature were man against man, man against nature, and man against himself. I always felt a bit left out of that whole show. When I discovered books like THE GOLDEN NOTEBOOK or THE WOMEN'S ROOM, a whole new kind of thematic material presented itself to me and I understood for the first time that what happens among women could also be literature. I think it was the first time I really understood that I could also be a writer.

Vick from Trinidad: What are the main qualities required of a successful author?

Barbara Kingsolver: I could never presume to tell anyone else what they have to do to be successful, because success is a quality so personally defined. Writing a memoir that will be read and cherished by your children could be considered by some people success. My own definition of success is to define the questions that seem most important, to address issues that could alter the way people live and cooperate in the world, and to write books that will honor my best intentions. On a more practical level, I feel successful if I have written my best, not compromised my ideology, and thrown away all the bad prose that I typed into my keyboard. For me, being a writer is mostly a matter of carving out the time to do it five days a week for at least a few uninterrupted hours because I am also raising children. I push myself hard, cope well with interruption, and never watch TV. Mainly, I would say, it's about getting yourself to sit down and write, day after day. Forget waiting for the muse. She has a lousy work ethic.

Penny from Santa Fe, New Mexico: I just want to say thank you.... Your books are moving and satisfying and meaningful. Hope you get off the road, and back to work soon!

Barbara Kingsolver: Me too!

Moderator: Thank you, Barbara Kingsolver. This has been a fascinating hour. Do you have any closing comments for the online audience?

Barbara Kingsolver: Thanks everybody for your interest and keep reading.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

The Poisonwood Bible 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 864 reviews.
Hygd More than 1 year ago
As a former missionary kid (Mish-Kid) this book brought back tons of memories. I have seen real-life characters that would have fit so comfortably within the pages of this book. The book, I believe, would be a fantastic read for many. I definitely would not say for everyone. Not too many people will read it on a nostalgic level as I did, and for some others who grew up similarly to me, it would bring back emotions and memories they would best forget. It brought back memories to me of the missionary to Borneo who spoke at my school when I was a 13 year old kid. He finished speaking and then invited all who would promise to someday go to Borneo as missionaries to stand, making public affirmation of this promise. No one stood. We were 13. Who knew what tomorrow would bring? The speaker, however, did not free us from the bonds of this assembly. He kept repeating the "invitation". After countless entreaties, we all stood up at once. We'd had enough and were ready to get back to doing the things we wanted. The speaker was thrilled. Did he think that his message had reached us? As far as I know, no one has gone on to missionary work in Borneo and I am now in my late 50's. There was another fellow who sought to bring down the walls of Jericho. Jericho being a local bar. He and his church members marched around their Jericho, playing hymns with a trumpet and singing every night for some time...enough to bring down the walls of any modern day Jericho, if not at least to bring in the local authorities. I totally enjoyed Poisonwood. I knew the people within its pages. Great book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Before I read this book for a literature class, I had read some of Barbara Kingsolver's short stories. I really liked them, but I wasn't sure how a full-length book would be. And I have to say, the Poisonwood Bible is a fantastic novel. Kingsolver's writing flows and and is full of imagery and detail. It is set in the Congo, and follows the family of Nathan Price, a fanatical Baptist preacher. The story is told through the perspective of the four Price daughters and occasionally their mother. Kingsolver's ability to change her voice to match the personalities of her characters is incredible. My personal favorite Price is Adah, the damaged genius who plays with words and cynicism, but even the characters I disliked had interesting points to make. Definitely worth reading! :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Poisonwood Bible is a well written novel with an outstanding story line. Barbara Kingsolver does a remarkable job of placing the reader in the middle of the jungle along with her characters and she includes enough history of the Congo to make the reader believe that this is almost a true story...even though it isn't! This book is definitely a great read for anyone looking for a great story!
HoosierJoe More than 1 year ago
The first two thirds of this book are fairly interesting and have good character development although it lacks in much of a plot. But it is a good chronicle of an ill advised missionary adventure of a possessed man and the family he drags along with him. The last third of the book is pretensous, boring, preachy, anti American, and anti Christian. In other words, all the same old blah, blah, blah that gets published a hundred times a year by all of these book-a-year authors. I started skimming just to get through the tedium.
Lolomurph More than 1 year ago
When traveling there is one question that festers in the mind; what do I bring? I'm not sure if Ruth May, Adah, Leah, or Rachel could've ever known what to pack when their father, Nathan Price, dragged them and their mother to the Belgian Congo. They attempted to carry everything they believed they would need in order to live there for a year; which was a different idea in each family member's perspective. As the story progresses, you will discover that everything they brought couldn't have ever prepared them for the tragic and life changing experiences they encountered. The story of their lives in Africa as missionaries is told from the eyes of the Price girls and their mother. With each girl having their own unique experiences they will take you on a remarkable and painful adventure. Meet their limbless neighbor, savor along with them the precious bottle of Clorox, learn the long and arduous art of cooking in the jungles of Africa, and watch as each girl finds their way through this mysterious culture. Barbara Kingsolver does a truly amazing job giving the world a glimpse into the life in Africa and the struggles of missionary families in the novel, The Poisonwood Bible. I enjoyed reading the story through the daughter's narrations because they seemed realistic in the sense that many teenage girls can relate. Rachel's character sticks out to me in that she is a normal makeup-wearing and boy crazed teenage girl like myself. My heart went out to missionary families after reading this novel; especially the mothers. The thought of trying to raise a family in such a culturally different place as Africa is hard to fathom and for that reason I praise Orleanna's character. As I read this book I got a different outlook on my faith as a whole and I obtained a new appreciation for those who give themselves and their families away to the mission field.
AvenueQ More than 1 year ago
If it were not for my English class, I never would have thought to read this book. However, I am glad that Ms. O'Brien did. On the surface this may seem like a chick book, but don't let the Oprah Club sticker fool you. This book is more about survival and faith while completely out of your element. Told from five points of view, this book follows a family of white missionaries into the Belgian Congo in the late 1950's and early 1960's. This book isn't preachy and stands out as a must-read. I have no doubt that this book will invoke profound thoughts in the reader. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone and everyone.
Angela Meadows More than 1 year ago
I loved the first 2/3 of the book and couldn't put it down. As they all got older though it was too depressing and never seemed to end. I found myself trying to hurry through it to get it over with.
taciesmith More than 1 year ago
I am shocked that i liked this book as much a I did (I abhore organized religion) but it was a great read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This novel was an insightful look into the results and colonizing influences of Africa. Through the world view of Postmodernism, each of these women discovers an equally valid existence as they seek forgiveness and reconciliation with the world around them. The stereotype of missionaries is easily debunked after a little research into 20th century missions and reading of the whole Bible instead of excerpts. There is more hope offered in these along with the hope found in finding love and contentment in authentic community. This is an interesting read for those who would like a glimpse into postmodernism and African culture. Care should be taken as in any read to not believe everything one reads but seek truth at the source.
shinnyleigh More than 1 year ago
Loved how each chapter was written from the perspective of a different character allowing you to get to know them and how they viewed their current situations.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book starts out a little slow with no continuity to the storyline. Starts to get better after about 150 pages. It's a book that makes think and question your beliefs about life, justice, and religion compared to other cultures. In essence, your environment has a lot to do with how you look at the world and other people and cultures. What is accepted as natural and obvious to you may seem ridiculous when looked at from a different point of view. I also learned a little bit of the history of the Conga and America's role in establishing a puppet leader to do it's bidding. It's important to look at the facts honestly instead of making excuses for the misdeeds of America's leaders. Only by holding our leaders accountable, can we make America be the bright shining light that it once was.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Poisonwood Bible was an incredible book. There are some very mature subjects in this story, but nothing a high school student couldn’t handle. I enjoyed the book, because of its realistic plot, and obvious reference to events in history. I would recommend it to kids in high school, and older. Knowing the historical references makes the book so much more enjoyable, because you understand what’s happening, and know where the author is coming from. I would recommend this to a high school student, because it gives you a new perspective on life, and things we take for granted. As a women especially, I found this story inspiring, and empowering. I would recommend this story to women the most, because of its importance to women. I think we can all take something from it though. This story reminds us all that no matter where we come from we all are equal. No one person has control or dominance over another. It also reminds us that no matter how helpless we might feel, it’s never too late to change, and we can always stick up for what we believe in.   
NCKATHYB More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful story with many introspective themes. By hearing the voices of each of the female members of the family, you hear several sides of different issues. I was impressed with the historical background and the sympathetic view of the native Africans. The study into the language was also interesting. It makes you think twice about some of our own government's policies. It also made me appreciate what we have, living in the US and how much we take for granted.
larrydarrell More than 1 year ago
A great insight into the goings-on in the Congo of 1960s. Barbara Kingsolver introduces you to characters that will live in your memory forever. She has remarkable depth in her understanding of people, and different cultures, and it makes her a great storyteller.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book because the story is told through more than one perspective. I was hooked in the first few chapters. She is a very descriptive writer who takes you to the places she so eloquently desribes.
Frauhousewife More than 1 year ago
Excellent mix of fiction and history.
nomes0222 More than 1 year ago
I found it interesting the way that Barbara Kingsolver chose to portray the theme of conflicting cultures in this book. She chose a evangelical American priest, by the name of Nathan Price and his family to venture down into the Congo to try and convert the Congolese people to Christianity. The Nathan Price's arrogance and lack of understanding prevents him from doing this in appropriate fashion. He expects the Congolese to relish the teachings that he brings to them, and fails to understand that the native people had their own beliefs and were not going to change them readily. Kingsolver organized the book in a way that each of the women take turns narrating the story. Through this she protrays how the different characters were shaped by their experiences in the jungle. There is the vain, narrow-minded Rachel who says that "You can't just sashay into the jungle aiming to change it all over to the Christian style, whithout expecting the jungle to change you right back." I liked the book because of Barbara Kingsolver's ability to incorporate precise detail and in doing so give the reader a greater understanding of the situation
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a great read! It was intelligent, funny and informative. I read the book in one day and the characters have stayed with me ever since. I have recommended this book to countless people and have got a lot of satisfaction from their positive reviews. It's great to share a treasure!
Anonymous 8 months ago
The extreme situation the author creates in this fictional account allows her to proclaim her philosophies of life with vigor, particularly anti-Christianity and anti-Americanism. In the foreword, she makes effort to point out that her parents (who went to the Congo in the same time period) have NOTHING in common with the main subjects of the work, essentially preparing the reader for the assault upon the southern baptist missionary and his 4 children from Georgia who are the main characters.
neilchristie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Story of the family of an evangenical preacher who move to the Belgian Congo in the 1950s. A bit like The Mosquito Coast in the way it shows how an alien environment can change a family that comes to it from the outside. Epic, poetic and very enjoyable.
DebbieMcCauley on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Set in the Belgian Congo, 1959, where evangelical Baptist preacher Nathan Price has uprooted his family from America to a primative world of poisonous snakes, unrelenting poverty and hardship, hostile villagers and political upheaval. The story if told through Nathan Price¿s wife Orleanna, and three daughters in alternating chapters. If found this interesting and well researched but would have been interested in reading chapters by Nathan Price chronicalling his descent into madness.
melibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
+ Well-written, interesting historical details, told from 5 distict perspectives, enough suspense to carry me through the entire story, made me want to learn more about Africa.- None, really.
chichyJakMysz on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Oh my, I'd give this book 10 stars if I could!
WintersRose on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Someone described this book to me as "painful, painful, painful," I would have to agree, especially if you happen to actually know any missionaries. I wonder if Kingsolver knows any missionaries, or if she just based Nathan Price on the usual literary/televsion/movie ministery stereotype. Price is the major flaw of the book because he is just a worn-out stereotype with no complexity. His one departure from the stereotype is that he constantly quotes books of the Bible that are not recognized by Jews or Protestants as Scripture. In fact they're only recogized by the Catholic Church, which Price disdains. It seems to me that Kingsolver took the easy road here, perhaps finding it too difficult to portray a good Christian missionary. The book moves makes slow, and again painful, progress until the village where the Prices live is attacked by army ants. After that it becomes a page-turner. Also keeping the reader's attention is the depiction of Congolese politics and history. Kingsolver masterfully portrays each of her five female narrators, giving each a unique voice and perspective of events experienced by the Price family. There are no Congolese narrators. The ending of the book is more gentle than the whole rest of the story, which seems to communicate that only the dead can experience or give true forgivenss.
justablondemoment on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book for the most part. The author put alot of time into researching and it was interesting and informative. At times though, I felt a bit bored these times were however, small enough to keep me going. Glad I didn't let those times make me put the book down as by the end I was satisfied by the experience of reading it.